Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mugabe and the White African -- and interview with Ben Freeth

Author: Ben Freeth
Publisher: Lyon Press
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7459-5546-9
Genre: Biography

The white farmers in Africa have struggled for more than ten years to keep their land in Zimbabwe from the control of Mugabe. Under the white farmers, the farms flourished and families thrived. However, Mugabe was determined to remove all the white settlers from Zimbabwe, because of jealousy, greed, racism, hatred, or a combination of all the above. This is the horrific account and true account of what the white families went through to try to save their land.

This well-documented book is an account of the downfall of the farms, the methods the families used to try to keep their land, and the brutality of Mugabe and his followers to the white farmers.

Both the Campbell and Freeth families were able to keep their faith in God throughout the whole revolution, teaching their children to stand strong in the Lord. Freeth quotes some Scriptures and prophecies that came to pass in the land under the dictatorship of Mugabe.

MUGABE AND THE WHITE AFRICAN is not a book for those who can’t handle violence. Mugabe used that tactic against the white settlers to try to remove them from the land. This is a real story, and there is also a documentary available that covers it. Maps, appendixes with updates, and forwards by a couple archbishops are included. $14.95. 253 pages.


1. Can you explain the Land Reclamation Programme?

It is normally called the land reform programme. It is a programme started after independence in 1980 and initially involved the purchasing of 3.6 million hectares from white farmers on a willing seller willing buyer basis and putting it into State hands to be distributed without security of tenure on a patronage basis. In 2000, 2 weeks after a referendum that President Mugabe lost, the program became a violent one with the take over of almost all of over 7000 title deeds belonging to white people on a violent basis without any form of compensation. In large numbers of cases looting of crops, livestock, agricultural machinery and household effects was allowed by the police and other authorities who were in many instances the beneficiaries. The largest numbers of people who suffered were the 2 million black farm workers and their families who were mostly left destitute and homeless. The aim was to disenfranchise them by violently stamping out any political opposition on the farms in the name of land reform. To this end it has been extremely successful. While it happened though, Zimbabwe went from being the bread basket of the region to a beggar state with everyone but the few at the top far poorer and an economy that was the fastest shrinking economy in the world for many years.

2. Describe President Robert Mugabe, how he came to power, and what he has done to Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe boasts about having come to power through the barrel of a gun. He had a communist-trained and equipped army based in Mozambique with mostly Chinese financial support. In the terrorist war that he waged in the 1970s most of the people that his army killed were black civilians. The election in 1980 saw widespread voter intimidation as has every election since. 2008 was the most bloody to date. Over a third of the population has fled the country in recent years.

3. How will Zimbabwe ever free itself from a man who proudly calls himself the "Hitler of our time" in a land where a Supreme Court ruling is meaningless?

President Mugabe is now 87 years old and reportedly in poor health. At some stage he will die. If the international community were to ensure a free and fair election without widespread violence he would lose that election. The transfer of power would need international help.

4. Can a white man ever truly be considered an African?

Can a white man be considered American? Can a black man be considered American? Many white African families have been in Africa for centuries. My father-in-law’s mother’s family will have been here 300 years in 2 years time. If they are not Africans what are they? Among the black power elite though, white people can not be African even though they are happy for black people in America to be called Americans.

5. How do you bring up a young family amidst threat and violence? How do the grandparents back in the UK feel?

It has been hard--especially in the last few years on the farm after we initiated the court case against President Mugabe, and it has only been through the grace of God that we have been able to go through it. My parents in the UK also have a strong faith in God and believe firmly that when good men do nothing, then evil will prevail. Their support has been incredible.

6. How do you teach faith to your children amidst the injustice and violence you live with?

When there is no law or protection through the law, there is still God. He has sustained us through everything, and as a family our faith is far stronger now than when the violence first started. I was always taught by father that “life isn’t fair.” He was right. But ultimately God’s justice will prevail on Judgment Day, and we count ourselves privileged to know his love for us and to have seen his protection over us through very traumatic times.

7. Did Mike Campbell share your faith?

Yes. He knew what it was to be saved, and on his death bed he was even able to find forgiveness for those that had taken everything he ever worked for - as well as taken his health and ultimately his life.

8. What could the upcoming (Zimbabwean?) elections mean to white and black Africans?

In order to instill the fear levels required for the ruling party to win, there will have to be widespread and intense violence with more bloodshed than in any election yet.

9. According to Genocide Watch’s 2010 statistics, more than twelve million people have died in genocides and politicides in Africa since 1945. This is double the number of Jews who died during the holocaust. How do you see the role of Christians around the world in your fight?

The first thing Christians need to do is pray for peace and protection over those in the front line in Zimbabwe, and then actively get involved in supporting those on the front line trying to seek peace and justice. This may involve lobbying their governments to bring more pressure to bear, trying to get international organization to assist, sending Christian missions into Zimbabwe, or supporting Christians who are making a difference within Zimbabwe.

10. Why do you choose to stay in Zimbabwe?

God calls us to try to be the light in a dark world. If we were to run away from every dark place the dark places would just get darker and bigger. This is our home and we want to make a difference for the better for the future here.

The Evil of an African Dictatorship is Met By A Christian's Stand for Justice
The True Story Mugabe and the White African will bring Zimbabweans' life and struggle home
SEATTLE - Mugabe and the White African (Lion Books, distributed by Kregel Publications, July 15, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-7459-5546-9, $14.95) chronicles the deeply moving and life-threatening struggle of a Christian family from Zimbabwe to protect their legally owned farmland, to protect the lives and livelihoods of all those working on the farm, and to live to see justice.

Mount Carmel farm was purchased by Mike Campbell from the independent Zimbabwean government and operated with the help of his son-in-law and author of the book, Ben Freeth. The Campbell farm had been a successful operation, and the family was busy raising the third generation when Mugabe's government began to target all white-owned farmland for the government's land reclamation program.

Despite the personal danger and the historic threat to his family as white farmers, Mike Campbell fought Mugabe's tyranny. He and his family paid dearly during the years-long historical court fight, but at last in 2008 he won his case. However, the consequences of living in the realm of a dictator that flouts justice caught up to them and within a year the family farm was burned to the ground anyway.

In the book, Freeth grapples with the root of evil in his country and the malevolent spirits that have allowed the leaders to inflict such suffering. He describes appalling acts of violence perpetrated against farmers and farm workers and the wanton destruction of highly successful commercial farming enterprises, which were once the backbone of a flourishing economy on a troubled continent.

But Freeth doesn't believe he and Campbell were only fighting Mugabe. He believes Ephesians 6:12 more accurately reflects his family's fight: "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Freeth says, "The land issue is not a struggle for land. It is a struggle (politics aside) for the control of the spiritual places, the 'High Places.'... It is a struggle of good against evil 'in the heavenly realms.'"

The courage of Mike Campbell, Ben Freeth, and their family is a remarkable witness to the grace of God in Christ. Mugabe and the White African is told as a lesson to the Christian community to stand together with their brothers and sisters who live under the tyranny of Mugabe or any evil ruler, to pray they will find deliverance.

The release date of Mugabe and the White African on July 15, 2011 is timed to correspond with the July 26, 2011 PBS debut of the award-winning documentary of the same name. For more information and air dates, visit:

Advance Praise for Mugabe and the White African

Freeth lays bare a beautiful but lawless land fouled by fear. A 'Clockwork Orange' state where racism, greed, and violence are ultimately humbled by almost unimaginable courage. Richly described, bravely chronicled, and utterly compelling.
-Mike Thomson, Radio Foreign Affairs Correspondent, BBC

About the Author:

Photo Credit: BBC News

Ben Freeth, MBE, is a British-born Zimbabwean farmer. He has lived in Zimbabwe most of his life and is raising his three young children there, together with his wife Laura. Ben's story has already been the subject of an award-winning documentary which won Best Documentary 2009 (British Independent Film Awards), was nominated for the BAFTA Outstanding Debut Film 2010, and shortlisted for an Oscar in 2010.

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